All summer long, Sunshine would ask upon waking, "Mommy, is it a you and me day?" While many of the summer days were days in which she and I would be together, they were also days when there would be brothers and others, too. When I would explain this, she would lament, "But I want it to be a you and me day!"
"You and me" days are the two days during the school week when she is off from preschool but the brothers are in school. They are the days that she and I spend together -- sometimes lazily, sometimes busily, sometimes productive, sometimes not. As my last child, Sunshine really gets the benefit of me savoring our time together. Much as we love the brothers and miss them when they are away at school, we both enjoy our special time together.
A few days ago, on our first you and me day of the school year, Sunshine was practically ecstatic. I was pretty excited, too. In some ways, our you and me days are nothing special -- no particular plan or event. In others, they are very special; we both recognize how nice it is to just spend time together.
Routine out of no routine at all
I try not to overfill you and me days. Oh, there is usually an errand or two to be done, maybe an overabundance of laundry in the hamper, but it's nice to keep our days fairly loose. Sunshine might get a little extra time with PBS while still in pajamas. I've been known to make a special breakfast for just the two of us. After that, we like to see what the day brings, and fit in errands around that. Maybe we'll go by the library, or meet a friend down at the playground. Maybe it's a stop by the local bakery for a meringue or something.
When you and me days started, I was trying to get back into an exercise routine and the dog needed attention, too. In the early warm September days of the school year, we make a regular practice of going for a long walk at some point during the day, and continue as long as we can before it's just too cold out there for all of us, even with bundling. Then there's lunch to be eaten, books to read - even if there is nothing in particular to do on a given day, we fill it up just fine.
Over too soon
Before we know it, our you and me day is over. It's time to greet the brothers from the school buses, and apply a little more routine to the late afternoon (boys need to do homework usually). Then Daddy comes home from work and asks what we did during the day. Sunshine and I tell the truth, "Not much. Hung out. Went for a walk. You know."
But it's so much more than that, and I think Sunshine knows that as well as I do. This is Sunshine's last year of preschool, and our last year of you and me days as such. We have so much "not much" to cram in and savor. We have walks to take, breakfasts to eat, books to read at home and at the library, mornings at the playground, treats at the bakery. In short, we have a lot to do in our loose, unstructured days.
Before we know it, our you and me days will be over, and Sunshine will be on the school bus, too. I think we'll both miss this time together, and it will feel like this time in our lives is over too soon.